Former Broward County Commissioner Barbara Sharief announced her intent to run as a candidate in the newly crafted Senate District 35 that covers southwest Broward, which is her longtime political base. Senate Minority Leader and big Florida Democrats player Sen. Lauren Book, reportedly also plans to run in the newly created district, setting up a largely important election in the scope of Florida Politics.
As a county commissioner, Sharief served as leader of the Florida Association of Counties, and was elected to serve two terms as county mayor. In 2021 she was an unsuccessful candidate in a special Democratic congressional primary for the late Alcee Hastings’ seat.
“Tallahassee is broken. We need public servants who will fight for the people that they serve instead of selling out to big money special interests and lobbyists,” said Sharief in a campaign video posted on social media Friday morning. “We need a leader who won’t bow to the right wing agenda that wants to take away all of our rights, restrict our freedoms and limit opportunity.”
Book has been a largely influential lawmaker for Democrats in Florida, serving as a quasi-spokeswoman for the Democrat’s largest campaign points, including opposition to abortion regulation. Book planned to move to the newly-created Congressional District 35 after redistricting efforts would have set her up to challenge an incumbent Senator. Now, Book must redirect monetary and political resources toward the forthcoming campaign race.
“I have spent the past several years fighting for our shared Democratic values and am now working tirelessly to not only increase Democrats’ numbers in the Senate but to stop the ultra right wing agenda of Ron DeSantis and his supporters. Serving in the State Senate should never be a ‘consolation prize,’ especially at such a time when our values and freedoms are under attack by the extreme right,” said Book. “This last Session showed very clearly why we MUST defend blue seats and bolster the number of Democrats in the Senate, an effort I am proudly and humbly leading with a strong and diverse slate of candidates across the state. My work in the Senate and as Democratic Leader is far from over, and Democrats fighting each other only undermines our critical efforts to strengthen our Party and Caucus.”
Book is expected to be an early favorite to win reelection, though Sharief was popular during her time as Mayor and could be seen as a dark horse to unseat the Minority Leader.
“I look forward to running a campaign focused on the real issues that matter to Broward families so that I can once again put my full focus on getting Democrats elected across the state in the General Election this November,” concluded Book.